My Submission to the 5th Uppercase SPD Guide

“I can make patterns and get paid for it?!”

…That is the revelation I had several years ago when I was a PhD dropout and trying to figure out what to do with my life. All I knew was that I really, really loved art and patterns and colour and that this thing called surface pattern design was an actual job. In Pakistan, textile design is very common, I even have relatives who have studied it. But I’d never really thought about it or considered how common surface patterns are in our everyday life. Even as an art school graduate, careers in design were rarely, if ever discussed.

I wish I could say that after my realization, I was able to drop everything, pursue it eagerly and had great success but those stories only exist in those 1 a.m. infomercials that would come on cable TV in the background when I was writing my master’s thesis at my parents’ kitchen table.  Instead, over the last 8 years I slowly have been reading, taking courses, learning Adobe software, painting and drawing regularly and praying that one day, my art will be licensed and I may even see it on some stationery while dreamily roaming the aisles of HomeSense. 

One huge source of inspiration has always been the gorgeous Uppercase magazine  which was my first real introduction into SPD and how to learn more about it. And even though I had severe imposter syndrome [I mean literally sitting on the floor crying and feeling like a fraud and very nearly quitting], I entered my art in the 4th edition of the Uppercase Surface Pattern Design Guide in 2021. I’m extremely grateful to be one of the 100 artists from around the world who was selected. I shared photos and more about that whole incredible experience here and it’s still one of the highlights of my art journey.

So when Uppercase announced that submissions were open for the 5th edition of the SPD Guide, I entered the above 9 designs. Whether or not they’ll be accepted, I have no idea. I’m just praying and waiting. But I do know that this time, I didn’t hesitate at all to enter and was even excited to do so. And so that in itself is a huge win for me personally. Growth and this whole journey may be slow, but it’s still growth. I know that’s cheesy [I happen to really love cheese :)] but I wanted to share in case anyone else here is also dealing with imposter syndrome or hesitation in pursuing a goal that may seem crazy.

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